After grabbing a bunch of needed supplies last Wednesday I was ready to start fabrication on the driver’s side bat-disc door today. This door is also known as the clay pigeon door and the ammunition re-load door. Either way, it’s the door that shoots out bat-discs 🙂
My supplies consisted of some 1″ steel pipe and four nickel garden hose shut-off valves. There was a ridge on one end of the shut-off valves that gave the look I wanted and also would provide a snug fit over the 1″ pipe.
To begin I needed to cut a length of pipe that would fit in the door opening to act as a hinge. I needed to cut it so that there was enough room for a washer on both ends of the pipe (more on the use of that washer later).
Once the pipe was cut I was able to trim the ends off of two garden hose shut-off valves. Once they were cut off I pressed them onto both ends of the pipe and then pushed them down further by tapping them lightly with a hammer and screwdriver. They turned out to be a nice snug fit.
I then cut some pieces of steel to provide both some strength and an area to weld the pipe as a hinge. These were two pieces of 1/16″ steel which had a 1″ hole cut in each end. I trimmed the ends of the fiberglass door and made sure the hinge was going to line up where I needed it in the opening on the body shell.
When everything was lined up I welded the steel supports to the 1″ bar in an area that would end up being covered. Once this was completed I grabbed a couple of washers that were the exact inner diameter as the 3/8″ bolt that I’m using as the “pin” for the hinge. Here you can see the washers welded on the end and the bolt slid down through the center.
The fact that these washers are the exact diameter means that there will be no play between the hinge and the pin/bolt. To ensure that the hinge was secured to the fiberglass door I drilled two holes and added two screws. Both sides of these screws will be trimmed so that the middle of the screw stays inside the door to help act as an anchor to some short-strand fiberglass that I’ll add later.
You can also see the mark where I trimmed the end of the hinge plate to give it the same curved end as the movie car.
Now I needed to strengthen the rest of the door. To do this I cut a piece of 1/16″ steel and drilled some pilot holes all around its outside edge. I also welded this steel and a cross piece between the two hinge arms all together to create a solid structure.
Each of the holes on the door plate received a screw that went down into the fiberglass of the door. Essentially the door was now a solid steel structure with a fiberglass front. These screws which poked through the fiberglass were trimmed down/counter-sunk so that I’ll be able to put a small amount of body filler to cover them up.
I also created the little square cut-out that the door on the movie car had to finish the look. This was just a little piece of square steel tube that was welded in from behind.
The last piece of fabrication was creating the tray for the bat-discs to sit in. This was just another sheet of 1/16″ steel with a 1″ lip welded around it. I also had to make sure that there would be clearance between this tray and the 30 cal machine guns when raising and lowering the hood.
Final step was to drill the holes in the body to drop the pin/bolt through and connect the door to the body. I’ll end up using some steel with another one of the “exact fit” washers welded to it as part of the inner support on the body. Right now there’s a little bit of play in the door because my drilled hole was a little bigger than the bolt. I’ll need to straighten that up, but other than that it worked as good as could be expected.
Here are a few shots with one of the bat-discs loaded and ready to fire! I might make a stack of discs so that it looks like there are more ready to load and fire when the door opens.
And here’s a shot when looking down in from the 30 cal machine gun door opening.
There’s still lots of body work to be done on the door, including some fiberglass work to seal in the handle and then eventually push down the two inner rings to meet with the fiberglass. Once all the body work is completed it should look like this:
Now that I have the main parts of the door fabricated, my next goal is to figure out how I’m going to use my 18″ throw actuators to open this bad boy up 🙂